QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
HT: 6-5, WT: 228, Born: 12-8-1981, College: North Carolina State, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 4
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Average draft position
Current as of June 11th. [Full ADP list]Overall: J Freeman (139), P Thomas (140), Philip Rivers (141), J Gresham (142), J Cutler (143)
Position: J Flacco (122-QB17), J Freeman (139-QB18), Philip Rivers (141 - QB19), J Cutler (143-QB20), M Schaub (150-QB21)
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Philip Rivers was one of three quarterbacks taken in the first eleven picks of the 2004 draft. The other two, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, have two Super Bowl rings each, while Rivers has been unable to lead his team to the big game. Until he regressed in each of the last two seasons, Rivers was considered one of the best passers in the league: up there, for a few seasons, with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. While he lacks mobility, he stands strong in the pocket, has an exceptionally quick release, and is deadly accurate when he can step into his throws. When the pocket collapses on him, however, he can be pressured into making poor decisions, and he is inaccurate when throwing on the run. His offensive line was atrocious in 2012. It will be completely rebuilt this season with four new starters (only center Nick Hardwick returns), but it remains to be seen whether the results will be any better. His receiving targets should be improved, however, with the return of Vincent Brown from injury and the addition of Keenan Allen through the draft. Rivers was a middling fantasy QB2 last season, but he had been a solid-to-decent fantasy QB1 in each of the four seasons before that, so he does have the potential to outperform his current average draft position.
Latest NewsChargers | Philip Rivers thinks best play to come (Fri Jun 7, 03:41 PM) - San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers said he believes his best football is ahead of him even though he is around the midpoint of his career. 'I think my best football is ahead of me, I really do,' Rivers said. 'That's being optimistic, because we've had a lot of really good years. I am probably on the second half of my career, the back end, but I think I've got a lot of good football left.' Our View: We agree with Rivers here. He's been slumping over the last few years but gets a fresh start with new head coach Mike McCoy. Rivers will benefit from an improved offensive line featuring first-round pick RT D.J. Fluker. Getting WR Vincent Brown back from his injury will boost the WR corps and help Rivers as well.
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|2||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|3||at Tennessee Titans|
|5||at Oakland Raiders|
|7||at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|9||at Washington Redskins|
|11||at Miami Dolphins|
|12||at Kansas City Chiefs|
|14||New York Giants|
|15||at Denver Broncos|
|17||Kansas City Chiefs|
2012 Game Summaries
Week 1 - On a day when the San Diego rushing game was basically nonexistent, it was on Rivers to carry the team offensively. And coming off the worst season of his career, a lot of curious eyes were on Rivers to see if he would more closely resemble the mistake prone 2011 version or the pre-2011 Pro Bowl version. Fortunately for San Diego fans and fantasy owners, it was the former. Rivers didn’t light up the stat sheet with gaudy passing numbers, but he looked extremely crisp and efficient for most of the game. Despite a shaky start, he found WR Robert Meachem down the right sideline for a big first quarter pass play, the team’s first deep bomb of the season. His decision-making and arm strength appear to be fine, and if the team can turn a couple of red zone near-misses into touchdowns, Rivers shouldn’t have much trouble regaining his place among the elite quarterbacks of the league. On the first, he had a wide open Malcom Floyd in the back corner of the end zone but badly overthrew him (a good throw would have been an easy score, as there wasn’t a defender within several yards of Floyd). On that same series, he threw a perfect strike in traffic to TE Antonio Gates who couldn’t haul in the pass. In fairness, the pass had a lot of velocity behind it. But it’s still a catch Gates almost always makes. On the one play that did result in a touchdown, Rivers did a great job of stepping forward in the pocket to elude the pressure coming from behind him. One defender actually had a hand on Rivers as he took a stride and delivered the ball to a waiting Floyd in the end zone for the score. Throughout the second half, the Chargers kept tacking on points with field goals rather than touchdowns. The Raiders defense bent but never broke, so even though Rivers was moving the team downfield and finding open receivers all over the place, San Diego wasn’t putting very many points on the board. When Ryan Mathews returns and provides a more dynamic run game, that could and should change for the better.
Week 2 - For a second straight game, Rivers resembled more and more his old Pro Bowl form and nothing like the inconsistent passer who turned the ball over with regularity a year ago. He was under some early pressure from the Tennessee front, but he never let it really bother him. Despite missing his favorite target TE Antonio Gates, Rivers picked the Titans apart for nearly nine yards per attempt while completing 75% of his passes. He again had a fantastic rapport with WR Malcom Floyd, who hauled in a game high six passes for 109 yards. The two appeared to connect on a first half touchdown but it was ruled incomplete. Rivers, unfazed, threw a touchdown to backup TE Dante Rosario two plays later. It was one of three touchdown passes from Rivers Rosario on the day, an impressive job by two players who had never even connected on an NFL pass together prior to this game. There was rarely a time where the ball sailed unexpectedly or Rivers didn’t put it precisely where he wanted to. His only costly mistake of the game came on a deep ball attempt to Floyd that was ill-advised. Rivers was being rushed and forced the ball into double coverage downfield. There were a couple of times where Rivers lost the football, once when he was tripped by the back coming out of the snap and lost the ball (San Diego recovered) and once when he simply dropped it as he was bringing it up to release the ball (again recovered by the Chargers). He also caught a bit of bad luck late in the game when he appeared to have thrown a touchdown to Ronnie Brown. The play was initially ruled a score but after review it was changed to down at the one yard line. Still, all in all the positives obviously greatly outweighed the negatives. Those who drafted Rivers late as their starter or even more impressively got him as a backup at a huge bargain are probably in a great position right now, as Rivers has looked awfully good these first two games despite missing Ryan Mathews for both games and Antonio Gates for one.
Week 3 - After two extremely efficient, effective games, Rivers badly regressed to his 2011 form in this game. The Atlanta defense had a lot to do with that, as the relentless pressure they applied never allowed Rivers to get into any sort of rhythm. His timing with his wideouts was just a bit off, and it showed in the final stats. Considering the amount of pressure he was under, it is kind of amazing that he was only sacked once in the game. But perhaps that partly has to do with the fact that he just flung the ball up for grabs on a few occasions when he was under pressure. Late in the first half, he hoisted one up while under duress that was intercepted by the defender. In the second half, he was again under pressure and threw one weakly off of his back foot towards TE Antonio Gates. Following that pick, Rivers and head coach Norv Turner were seen in a heated exchange on the sideline for several minutes. He nearly threw a third interception on a ball intended for Gates in the end zone, but that one was just knocked away and not picked off. Generally speaking, his passes were not crisp and his accuracy was poor. More specifically, his decision-making was awful. There were two occasions on which he probably could have thrown easy touchdowns had he made the correct reads, one to Gates and another to WR Malcom Floyd. Instead, he looked in the direction of the opposite guy on each pass attempt and instead ended up with zero scores. In fairness to Rivers, he wasn’t helped by his receivers much either. Floyd dropped at least two balls, including one deep ball that would have been at least a big gain if not a touchdown, and Gates dropped another.
Week 4 - The stat line doesn’t necessarily jump off the page, but the numbers also don’t really illustrate just how efficient Rivers was in this game. He completed nearly 80% of his passes for over nine yards per attempt, and despite a few hiccups, he was pretty much in control of the game. On San Diego’s first drive, it appeared to be a continuation of last week as Rivers heaved one down the sideline for Robert Meachem for what should have been a 49-yard touchdown. Except Rivers horribly underthrew him, and the pass fell incomplete. Fortunately for San Diego, Rivers got on the right page on the very next play by connecting with WR Malcom Floyd for a 21-yard back shoulder connection. When San Diego got close to the end zone, he immediately called WR Eddie Royal’s number, firing a bullet pass in traffic on a quick slant for the score. On San Diego’s next possession, he tried forcing one to Royal in the back of the end zone. There was a lot of traffic back there, and it was a bad decision to even attempt the pass. Fortunately for Rivers, it fell incomplete. He did manage to find the end zone once more, turning in a solid albeit unspectacular fantasy performance. Rivers was looking for Gates initially on the play, but after going through his reads he saw RB Jackie Battle wide open in the corner of the end zone for the easy touchdown. It wasn’t all perfect, as Rivers did throw one interception late in the first half. He was standing on the left hash and tried attempting one across his body to the right sideline, but it had little on it and was easily picked by KC. Aside from that pass, Rivers showed outstanding touch on most of his passes, but two in particular really stood out. One was a third down floater to Ronnie Brown out of the backfield for 22 yards and a first down. It was just a perfect pass that he dropped right over the defender’s head. Soon after, he found TE Antonio Gates perfectly in stride down the seam for another 33 yards, again displaying pinpoint accuracy on the pass. In the second half, the Chargers had a lot of trouble moving the ball and aside from the Battle TD, the scoring chances were very limited due to significant defensive improvements by Kansas City. That explains why the passing yardage total for Rivers was so underwhelming.
Week 5 - Philip Rivers had an inconsistent day in New Orleans against the Saints despite putting up 354 yards and two touchdowns. Rivers' pass protection was likely the cause of his bipolar display as they gave him outstanding protection at times, but then struggled mightily with pressure for stretches. A staple of Rivers' game is his ability to throw accurate deep passes. This was something that he was doing repeatedly against the Saints and completed passes of 39, 44 and 20 yards on the day, but had two passes of 22+ yards negated for penalties also. Rivers' first touchdown pass to Robert Meachem was a slightly wide back should throw over the middle that could have been intercepted if Malcolm Jenkins had been slightly quicker, but Meachem adjusted very well to reel it in. Rivers threw a second touchdown pass to Robert Meachem off of play action when he instantly recognized that Malcolm Jenkins was out of position and Meachem had beaten him deep. It was a very easy pass for a quarterback of Rivers' caliber. It wasn't a perfect day throwing to Meachem however as he missed a wide open touchdown to him in the corner of the redzone in the first half also. Rivers was nearly intercepted when he underthrew a pass to Eddie Royal running a seam route. Royal never had a chance at the football as Roman Harper undercut it while Malcolm Jenkins was arriving at the same time from deep. He then was intercepted on a tipped pass he forced into a tight window with five minutes left in the game when they were down by four. It was third and long and Rivers tried to hit Floyd on a deep in route. The throw was very accurate, but Malcolm Jenkins appeared to jump through Floyd to knock the ball away. No flag was thrown and the ball fell into the hands of Roman Harper. Rivers was very unlucky with that throw.
Week 6 - We hear people using the expression, “it was a tale of two halves” all the time. Never has that been more appropriate than when describing the performance of Rivers in this game. In the first quarter, Rivers endured a 1-6 stretch and misfired on a couple of seemingly easy third down passes. He was also under some duress and not stepping into any of his throws. He was nearly intercepted on the second play of the game when he heaved one deep downfield in double coverage to WR Robert Meachem, and was in fact picked off on a deep ball attempt to TE Antonio Gates. Rivers was also whistled for two false start penalties. And the amazing part is, this was Rivers’ GOOD half! He did finish up completing 10 of his last 11 first half passes that included a pair of touchdowns to Gates. The San Diego offense was given short field position courtesy of several Denver turnovers, and the Chargers were capitalizing. The first touchdown pass was a good individual effort by Gates, who muscled through the defender and lunged into the end zone for the first score, and the second touchdown was a combination of perfect accuracy and a great read on the blitz by Rivers and excellent hands by Gates. Rivers appeared to be getting into a good rhythm, and had his team up 24-0 at the half. But in the second half, it all fell apart. Rivers turned the ball over an astounding five times after halftime, three of them interceptions and two fumbles (with two of the plays being returned for defensive scores by the Broncos). By the end of the contest, he was lobbing lazy passes towards the sideline off of his back foot with absolutely no zip or accuracy on them and his body language looked deflated and defeated before the Chargers had even relinquished the lead – it was as if everyone could see the train coming but nobody could get off the tracks. It was, quite simply, one of the worst quarterback performances of the 2012 season. The Chargers will have to re-tool a lot of aspects of their offense with the upcoming bye week if they don’t want to see another season slip away.
Week 8 - The weather wreaked havoc on both passers in this game, but that still wasn’t an excuse for just how poorly Rivers played. After his poor second half performance against Denver in their last game, San Diego appeared to consciously want to establish the running game. The Chargers ran on each of the first four plays and seven of the first eight. The only pass play among those was a very safe out route to WR Malcom Floyd for a first down. The problems for the San Diego passing game start with the offensive line rarely giving him enough time to look downfield. But even when he is given time, he appears to be always trying to make the perfect pass instead of just a good one. Rivers tended to hold the ball for far too long, and when he finally does attempt a pass it is more of a dart-throwing motion moreso than a football pass (particularly on shorter passes). He looks anxious when making passes, and nothing looks to come naturally or fluidly anymore. Rivers just looks nothing like the perennial Pro Bowler of a few years ago. On the handful of occasions Rivers looked down the field, he never really came close to completing a deep ball. On one particular pass to newly-signed WR Danario Alexander, Rivers appeared to put everything he had into the pass, only to watch it come up woefully short of its intended target and nearly get picked off. On another deep ball to WR Floyd into double coverage, it was actually caught by the Cleveland defender but it was out of bounds. He did nearly throw one touchdown pass to WR Robert Meachem, but the receiver dropped what should have been an easy 51-yard score in stride when he tried to run before he caught it. But that was the only time San Diego even came close to a score. On two separate occasions in the second half, Rivers’ accuracy was off on some shorter passes and Rivers threw a mini-tantrum on the field, screaming at himself and displaying some violent gestures. To put it bluntly, despite looking terrific in the beginning of the season, nothing is working for Rivers right now. He went so far as to grow a mustache during the week and sported it during the game, but even that was of no help and it was conspicuously missing in the postgame press conference.
Week 9 - It was almost another one of those games for Rivers. Despite starting the game 13-13 for 172 yards and a touchdown, Rivers heard what he called “the loudest boos of my career” as he exited the field just before halftime. The San Diego QB was in the process of playing one of the best halves of football a quarterback can play. He hadn’t made a single mistake, he looked confident, his passes were crisp and accurate, and the Charger offense was moving the ball at will. He had found TE Antonio Gates for a touchdown earlier when the big tight end hauled in a floater near the sideline and reached over the pylon for the score. He also found newcomer WRs Seyi Ajirotutu and Danario Alexander for big plays down the field. The line was giving him plenty of time, and even on the rare occasions he was under pressure he went through his progressions and checked it down rather than trying to force something. They were about to go up 17-3 if they could just punch the ball over the goal line. But on a play action rollout, Rivers made a colossal mistake in trying to force a pass to TE Randy McMichael in the end zone. The defender stepped in front of the ball for the easy interception, and Rivers was serenaded by the San Diego faithful. To make matters worse, the ball was on the 1-yard line because RB Ronnie Brown had been stopped just short of the end zone two plays earlier on a pass play that was very close to being a Rivers touchdown already. Fortunately for Rivers, the Chiefs couldn’t really get out of their own way in the second half and carried no momentum over from the stop. They missed a field goal to open the second half, continued turning the ball over, and the Chargers were all too happy to accept the gifts. On the game-clinching drive, the Chargers ran the ball on seven consecutive plays. Just when it looked as if they may run it all the way into the end zone, Rivers stepped back and fired a strike to the front corner of the end zone for a back shoulder touchdown to favorite target WR Malcom Floyd. The San Diego defense then put the game away in the fourth quarter, so Rivers’ wasn’t able to really compile huge stats in the game despite the outstanding efficiency.
Week 10 - Rivers is pretty much perfecting the “tale of two halves” storyline with each passing week. In this game, he torched the Bucs the entire first half as they had basically no answers for him. He was getting time to throw so he could step into his passes, was hitting each of his receivers with precision and accuracy (and in stride for the most part), and was compiling some huge fantasy stats. He looked a lot like the Rivers of old, which we have seen glimpses of at times this season just not on a consistent basis. Well, that would continue in this game as he struggled through a mistake-prone second half and arguably was the biggest reason why the Chargers lost this game. He threw two costly interceptions -- one of which had essentially no chance of being completed, and another that had only a slightly higher chance. Early on, Rivers could do no wrong. He found WR Danario Alexander on a slant and t hanks to some shoddy tackling by Tampa Bay, Alexander got up and raced off to the end zone for an 80-yard score. But while that was more fortuitous than anything, Rivers kept the points coming as the half went along. On the next drive, he found TE Antonio Gates deep down the seam for a 33-yard pickup and later in the end zone for a 13-yard score. He did miss on a long potential touchdown to gates when he badly underthrew a deep ball (on a play which Gates was several steps beyond the last defender). But Rivers closed out the half with a bullet pass on an inside slant to WR Malcom Floyd for his third touchdown of the game. The Chargers were throwing it almost non-stop, knowing that the weakness of the Tampa defense is in the pass defense. Rivers completed his last nine passes of the half and was rarely under pressure. But even when he was, he showed just enough mobility to avoid the rush. He did a nice job of eluding pressure on a third down blitz while rolling out to his right, and kept his head up to find Floyd for the first down on the right side of the field. That play may have ultimately been Rivers’ undoing, however. On a very similar third down situation in the second half, he again rolled out to his right and tried forcing a pass along the sideline to a well-covered Eddie Royal only to have the ball intercepted and run back the other way for a Tampa score. Soon after, he tried forcing a deep ball down the sideline to Alexander but never stepped into the throw. Not surprisingly, the ball was woefully underthrown and easily intercepted.
Week 11 - As usual, Rivers was under a lot of pressure due to poor play by the offensive line. And also as usual, that defensive pressure caused Rivers to make a number of costly mistakes which he then compounded on his own. In the first half, the San Diego offense looked like a shell of its former self. There was no accuracy on Rivers’ passes, and the first time he took a shot down the field, he tossed a horrid interception over the middle. The reverse angle replay showed that even if the ball hadn’t been picked, it was still thrown well behind the intended target. The Chargers didn’t pick up their second first down until 3:25 remained in the half. And following a Denver sack, Rivers got up and screamed at his offensive linemen for failing to slide the protection. Things got better in the second half from a stats perspective, though not from an effectiveness one. He continued rushing throws that didn’t need to be rushed, and had no rhythm with his targets. Worse than that, Rivers looked like had had absolutely zero pocket presence. He started feeling pressure that wasn’t there, and at other times when there WAS pressure, he had no idea and ended up getting sacked. Rivers was also careless with the football, fumbling it on three different occasions. All of this resulted in the team gaining a total of 72 yards on their first 12 drives. He finally got something going midway through the third quarter. There was a tough pass to WR Robert Meachem in traffic that he really threaded the needle on, and culminated in a touchdown to his new favorite target WR Danario Alexander. The Chargers converted multiple third downs on the possession, and finally looked like the Chargers everyone is used to seeing. Rivers again felt confident enough to look downfield, and it resulted in a 38-yard connection with WR Malcom Floyd (although the ball was woefully underthrown and was only completed due to a great individual effort by Floyd). However, soon after that Rivers added yet another interception. It wasn’t really a big deal and actually shouldn’t have been picked off since it came on a desperation fourth down pass and actually cost the Broncos field position. But it counts against Rivers in the box score, giving him three turnovers in the game. There was one more bright spot on the day for Rivers when he engineered a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter with his team down by 14. Rivers went 6-6 for 89 yards and a questionable touchdown to Alexander (eventually reviewed and ruled a score). But when San Diego failed to recover the onside kick, it all but ended the game. The Chargers did get the ball back with 23 seconds left, but it wasn’t nearly enough time to drive the 87 yards they needed. In fact, Rivers was sacked with just over ten seconds remaining in the game. Rather than bring the team back to the line to try one last desperation play, he instead fired the ball at the official and began walking off the field. Obviously, the chances for them scoring on the play were not great – but one has to think the chances were much less than that if they didn’t even try. That play may be forgotten about by next week, or it may be the latest sign of the team’s leader coming unglued at a sign of adversity.
Week 12 - On each of San Diego’s first two offensive possessions, Rivers was sacked on third down to end the drives. On the third possession, he had his third down pass batted down at the line. In short, Ravens defenders were always close by. In all, Rivers ended up getting sacked a total of six times in the contest. He managed to avoid any turnovers, and almost seemed as if he was instructed to throw the ball away any time a play was even remotely in question. There were a number of plays where the play was only seconds old, and Rivers was already firing the ball into the turf or out of bounds to avoid another disastrous situation. The only time he even came close to a turnover was when he failed to put enough juice on an out route to WR Malcom Floyd on the sideline. The route was jumped by the defensive back for a near pick-6, but wasn’t held onto and it fell for an incompletion. Soon after, Rivers made one of his better plays of the season. He managed to handle a poor snap, stayed in rhythm, and fired a strike over the middle on the quick slant to Floyd for the score. In the second half, Rivers really locked onto WR Danario Alexander at nearly every key juncture. The San Diego offense really shut down in the second half, as the Chargers played it very conservatively in trying to protect their lead. But when it got to the point where the game was tied, they once again put it on the shoulder of Rivers to lead them to a win. And as has become the frequent story of 2012, he was unable to do so. Rivers kept looking for Alexander, but they kept not converting them.
Week 13 - Early on, Rivers and the San Diego offensive line looked like a different team. Even though they weren’t really taking very many chances down the field, Rivers impressively completed his first ten passes. He was getting rid of the ball quicker, making good decisions, and most importantly his offensive line was giving him a ton of time. Perhaps they were giving him too much time, because at one point he had loads of time to throw but instead of firing it away he held it for too long. He was hit as he threw and the ball popped straight up in the air for a fumble. TE Antonio Gates took his time in deciding whether to pounce on the ball, but he did eventually fall on it for a recovery to save the turnover. Rivers nearly found the end zone later on that drive when he completed a pass to RB Ronnie Brown to the 2-yard line, but Brown couldn’t push his way into the end zone. Later in the first half, Rivers again came close to a score on a pass play to Brown who got to the 1-yard line this time but stopped shy of the stripe. Rivers finished the first half having not made any costly mistakes to cost his team, was finding a lot of different receivers, and was being protected by his line. He even did a nice job of scrambling out of the pocket to pick up a first down (had had two nice runs in the game, one for 9 yards and one for 11). But as has been the case in many of the Charger games this season, as the game went along there was more and more pressure applied to Rivers. With San Diego trailing by 3 late in the fourth quarter, he was hit just as he attempted to throw the ball and it popped loose for a fumble. That turnover resulted in a Bengals field goal to put the Chargers down 6. Since San Diego needed a touchdown, it didn’t help them when Rivers managed to move the ball to the Cincinnati 17-yard line. On first and 10 from the 17, Rivers proceeded to throw four consecutive incomplete passes, none of which were particularly close to being completed. The last pass attempt on fourth down was thrown to WR Malcom Floyd into double coverage and predictably picked off to end the game, and essentially San Diego’s already-faint playoff hopes.
Week 14 - It’s amazing how much better Rivers looks when his offensive line actually gives him time to throw. Rivers wasn’t particularly efficient, completing just over 50% of his passes and averaging fewer than five yards per pass. But most importantly, he got his team into the end zone and he didn’t turn it over (in fact, he never even came close to turning it over). He tried getting on the same page with TE Antonio Gates early on, but the two weren’t really able to connect on anything of substance. Likewise, he had trouble establishing a rapport with WR Malcom Floyd for most of the game. Fortunately for Rivers and the Chargers, he had great chemistry with WR Danario Alexander. The two first connected on a 39-yard bomb down the sideline when Alexander beat his defender with a beautiful double move. Rivers lobbed it deep to the wide open receiver for the easy score (Rivers’ first touchdown in his last 93 pass attempts). The two later hooked up on another touchdown, this one a floater to the front corner of the end zone. Alexander did a very nice job of hanging in the air seemingly forever to haul it in in front of the defender. Rivers’ other touchdown pass did go to Floyd, one of only two passes they connected on. It was a nice timing route where the ball was thrown to the corner before Floyd’s head was turned around. But he did a good job finding the ball in the air for the score, giving Rivers at least 20 touchdowns for a seventh straight season (a San Diego team record). While Rivers wasn’t his usual efficient self, it is pretty clear that San Diego coaches, fans, and fantasy owners will trade a few points of passer rating in exchange for more touchdowns and fewer turnovers – especially against the league’s top-ranked defense coming into the game.
Week 15 - This game was pretty much a microcosm of Rivers’ entire season. He did complete nearly 70% of his passes, but he averaged just over five yards per pass and couldn’t sustain any drives. He was sacked five times, fumbled it four times, and two of the fumbles came on plays where he wasn’t even contacted by a defender. The bad signs started early, as Rivers stepped up to throw a pass over the middle. When he started his arm motion going forward, the ball just slipped right out of his hands and was recovered by Carolina. Late in the first half as the Chargers tried to pick up some momentum to carry into the second half, he lost the handle on another one despite once again not even being hit by a defender. Fortunately for Rivers, this time he managed to pick it up himself. The second half feature dmore of the same. Rivers was under constant pressure, getting sacked and then hurried on the team’s opening sequence. At times he was little more than a sitting duck in the pocket. He was twice hit by defenders on plays that resulted in sack/fumbles. About the only two times in the entire game where he looked like his old self were on a deep ball down the sideline to WR Malcom Floyd that was completed for a big gain, and another on a corner fade to TE Antonio Gates for San Diego’s only score of the game. But if there was any question about whether fantasy owners can trust Rivers the rest of the way, the answer to that question came in the form of a resounding and emphatic “no”.
Week 16 - Rivers once again put up modest numbers, though he did manage to connect for two scores. However, he didn’t look very fluid for the most part and he was actually very fortunate to not turn the ball over. Among his many mistakes was an early deep ball to WR Danario Alexander that could have gone for a touchdown, but instead was horribly underthrown. He did not step into the pass at all, and in fact may have taken a half step backwards as he released the football. He has developed a very bad habit of throwing the deep ball off of his back foot and heaving it almost exclusively with his arm (using none of his lower body to generate power). When he finally did step into a pass, it was not surprising that he completed a bullet sideline route to WR Eddie Royal. He managed to avoid the costly mistake, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. On one particularly bad pass to Royal, he floated one to the outside that should have been intercepted on second and long. While it was true that Royal sat down and waited for the pass to arrive rather than going to get it, the fact is that the pass should have never been made. The defensive back had it in his hands but simply dropped it. He later attempted another deep ball to Royal that was nearly intercepted, but this time the receiver bailed him out by breaking up the pass at the last moment. It wasn’t ALL bad for Rivers, as he did make a perfect pass on a deep route to Alexander for the score. And he later connected with TE Antonio Gates for a score on a crossing route (Rivers found Gates in stride, and the big tight end did the rest in taking it upfield the rest of the way). But aside from the scores, a quick glance at Rivers’ yardage totals suggests that he is not getting much done down the field. And after factoring in the near-turnovers and four more sacks (many coming because Rivers holds the ball for too long), it becomes clear that he is not exactly lighting the league on fire to close out the campaign.
Week 17 - Rivers had a rough start to his day, getting sacked on his very first drop-back of the game after the Raiders sent a blitz on third and long. But despite Rivers failing to post huge stats, things got much better after that first play. He did a good job of standing tall in the pocket and delivering passes to his receivers. The Raiders have a very poor pass rush, so he wasn’t under constant harassment like he usually is. He was hit on a couple of occasions, but it wasn’t enough to cause him to rush any passes or make any terrible decisions with the football. The only time he came close to a turnover was on a deep ball down the sideline to WR Danario Alexander. He had plenty of time to throw, stepped into the pass, his receiver had several steps on the defender, and it looked like it was going to go for a big play. But the safety came flying in from midfield towards the sideline and very nearly made the interception. Fortunately for Rivers, that mistake did not prove costly and he soon found his old favorite target, TE Antonio Gates, in the back corner of the end zone for the score. Rivers fired a perfect pass low and away from Gates that only the big tight end could get to. Rivers’ second and final touchdown pass of the game was an even more impressive delivery, connecting with perfect touch to Alexander on another deep ball down the sideline. Alexander got well past the defense, Rivers took one look downfield, and found him perfectly in stride. Alexander then outran the defense and maintained his footing to culminate the 34-yard score.